There’s always room for improvement in all areas of life – including surfing. One of the best ways to train for the waves is to carve out your space on the dry ground. Surfskates are not only fun to use, but they can really improve your game in the water.
By mimicking the movement on the waves, surfskates offer a great way to train for surfing. But with so many to choose from, and so many nuanced differences from traditional skateboards, how do you pick?
We’ve put together a list of a few of the best surfskate brands and products on the market. Each of these beauties comes highly recommended to help you simulate the surfing experience without getting wet.
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Benefits of a Surf Skateboard
A surfskate differs from a traditional skateboard in a number of ways. The shape of the deck and position of the trucks is intentional to imitate the motion of riding a wave. The biggest difference between a traditional skateboard and a surfskate is the focus that the board places on the front truck. This allows for short and flexible turns.
Using a surfskate is one of the best ways to train for surfing – and have some fun at the same time.
There are several benefits of skate surfing, all that contribute to improving your surfing skills. By sharing some of the fundamental elements of surfing, skating can give your passion the boost you need in the water.
- Improved balance as you carve manoeuvers on the skateboard
- Better style and technique as you improve your flow
- Help coordination on the road as you would in the water
- Fitness as your heart rate reaches a noticeable spike
- Fun on the land because let’s face it, the swell doesn’t always work in our favor
Important Skate Surf Features
If a land-based board sport tickles your fancy, then buying a surf skateboard may be your next step. However, it’s important to note that not all skateboards are created equal. Especially when you want to skate to improve surfing.
There are a few distinctive features that make surfskate skateboards effective. When combined, these features should allow the rider to flow, pump, make tight turns, and be durable.
Truck Type, Style, Height, and Set-Up
There are two popular types of trucks for surfskates, namely bushing-based and mechanical spring-based. These are often traditional skating trucks that have been specifically tuned.
Bushing-based trucks are simple, durable, and easy to use, but they are closer to the traditional skateboard and don’t allow for wide turns. Bushings also wear out faster. Mechanical spring-based trucks and responsive and flow well, offering a feeling close to surfing. However, they are more susceptible to breaking and the parts aren’t as easy to find.
With surfskate industries blowing up in popularity, there have been adaptations to the truck style. Some brands, such as Carver and Slide, have their own complete skateboard truck that has the surfskate mechanism built-in.
Other brands have surf adapters that are mechanisms to help you turn. These adaptors are mounted in between the normal truck and deck. Some surfskate trucks and adaptors are available for the front and rear. These details will often be determined by the brand.
The height of the trucks is one of the most important differentiating factors. Surfskates normally have a taller truck which provides more leverage on turns. The added height also helps to pump the board as you would on a wave.
Keep in mind that this places the rider slightly higher off the ground, meaning that you need to reach further to push.
Another detail of surfskates is the looseness of the surfskate truck. While this is less stable, it allows the board to turn easier and to practice balance. The looseness can be adjusted and rotated depending on the experience you crave.
Turn and Lean
The ability to turn depends on the amount of rotation in the wheel when pressure is applied on the rail. Turnability is important for getting wide angles. The lean of the board is in reference to the sideways tilt of the deck when turning.
Various surfskates will offer different experiences, with some having a lot of turns with limited lean and vice versa. Essentially the riding experience boils down to the lean-to-turn ratio.
There’s no right or wrong choice of the deck for a surfskate and your choice will depend largely on what you hope to achieve from the ride. Your height, weight, level, and riding style will also impact your choice.
For example, bigger riders need a wider board, and taller riders typically prefer longer decks. In general, surfskate decks are shorter and wider.
The shape of the deck will also vary depending on preference. However, the outline normally reflects the shape of a shortboard, fish, classic, etc.
The nose and tail will impact the feel of the ride. Wider tails add space for pulling maneuvers with your back foot, while a fuller nose allows for more responsiveness to the front truck. Whatever you’re looking for – there will be a surfskate to fulfill your needs.
The wheels on a surfskate surfboard prioritize traction, roll speed, and significant rebound for when you pump. The diameter of the wheels will depend on several factors, including the rider’s height.
Keep in mind that soft wheels offer more grip while hard wheels move faster and slide easily.
A shorter wheelbase offers fast and tight caving, fast pumping, and is better for turns. Basically, offering a speedy, shortboard-style ride.
A longer wheelbase will leave you with a flowy, stable ride that is fluid and relaxing.
Best Surfskate Boards
If you walk into any surf skate shop or chat with any skate surfers, they’ll be able to offer their recommendation on the best board. To help kickstart your online research, here are a few boards that will have you riding as a skate surfer in no time.
Ollie has a Landyatchz and believes that it’s made a noticeable difference in his surfing journey. This particular pocket knife surfskate is compact, and groovy, with longboard wheels. The board is super nimble and loved for its ability to make beautiful, bending lines.
In the same breath, you don’t need a mountain of effort to change direction. The agile design allows for a joyful cruise while making tight lines and taking small gaps.
The soft-top grip tape is comfortable to ride, and the funky designs make the board a beaut to look at. With a low concave and steady rocker, the Canadian Maple board will quickly become your best friend.
The Magneto Mini Cruiser is made with a Canadian Maple deck, a popular source of material for surfskates because of the material’s flexibility. The versatile width and length make it a smooth ride for all.
The double kick tails are a key feature, adding fun and versatility to the cruise. While the board allows for traditional skateboard tricks, the asymmetric front, and back kick tail give it the spunk for a surf-style experience.
The trucks are quite sturdy so you won’t get the loose feel of carving as you would with other boards, but it still offers a fluid, easy ride.
The Z-Flex surfskate is so beautiful that you may not want to take it out. But one push off the hard Candian Maple and you won’t want to get off. The agile design makes the board nimble and cruisy when moving around urban areas, offering the same sense of freedom that you find in the water.
“Surf the streets” with the waterborne surf adapter that is applied to the deck. Thanks to the waterborne technology, riders can pump, carve and slide while maintaining control.
It’s possible to adjust the adapter to best suit your riding style, making the board even more versatile. All that’s left to do is discover the turning potential of this epic board.
As an affordable board, the Sector 9 Barrel Hopper combines plastic in its design, but still includes some of the flexible Canadian Maple we’ve all learned to love.
The Barrel Hopper offers a cruiser riding experience, but each of their boards is designed to blend the life of the surfer and the skater. It’s also the perfect board to ride down to the beach!
This list would be incomplete without including a Carver board. The brand was the first to introduce the surfskate and in many ways, they’ve been leading the charge since.
You can practically choose any Carver board that you want and it will deliver a mellow, fluid ride. Even so, there are nuanced differences between the boards, depending on the trucks and other design elements.
For example, the Carver C7 is the original surfskate truck, while the Carver Cx is a hybrid that offers slightly more stability. If you choose to invest in a Carver, you can expect long rides and lots of cruising.
The Revolution 101 balance board trainer allows you to find strength through balance and work on your coordination. The compact size means that you can take it with you when traveling, and gives your motion of moving on a fluid level.
If you’re looking for an effective tool to improve your board riding skills when you’re stuck in one place – this is a great bet.
Riding Both Wave and Cement
If you have the right board, a glum day in the water can be turned into a memorable board-riding experience. Surfskates promise a lot of fun and have the added benefit of training your skills for when the swell next works in your favor.